- Reading effectiveness can be measured in many ways.
- For recollection and understanding, printed texts are best.
- Digital screens don’t affect critical thinking or reading time.
- Modality doesn’t matter when reading for enjoyment.
/_l_w4hmhuma-Reading is a decision for everyone. Some of us love the tactile feeling of turning pages in a physical book, while others prefer smartphones or tablets’ tiny, mobile convenience. You’ll probably struggle to convert a print reader to a digital.
Readers will undoubtedly say print books are “old fashion and cumbersome” if you demand them to give up their tablets. Regardless of choice, most readers neglect one of reading’s primary goals: learning. Do we know the best media type?
Benefits and drawbacks:
For years, researchers have disputed each medium’s educational benefits and drawbacks. A new meta-analytic study, which combines experimental findings, shows some particular trends that assist in resolving the digital versus print issue and how each technique contributes to learning.
Reading effectiveness is measured in many ways. In other words, we must separate learning into five categories: recall of information, comprehension of material, vocabulary growth, reading efficiency, and how well the material inspires critical thinking on the reading topic before finding the ideal reading strategy. /_l_w4hmhuma.
Each metric is affected differently by reading.
“Recall” means remembering what you read. Recall is the ability to recognize specific facts, dates, and names from reading, not a profound grasp of the content or the ability to apply it.
Readers recall more details when reading from books than from screens (Singer & Alexander, 2017). Device distractibility may explain why print reading is preferable.
Answering multiple-choice or open-ended questions on reading content indicates comprehension. Connecting paragraphs and identifying essential concepts are also part of comprehension.
Kids worry about understanding more than adults. Digital media, such as online dictionaries and content enhancement connections like pictures and videos, might divert young children (ages 1–8) from reading./_l_w4hmhuma.
Comparing paper and digital literature shows that digitization lowers comprehension scores (Furenes et al., 2021). Charts and graphs can be added to digital content in real-time, improving understanding. When adults read with children, book reading is more beneficial than digital book improvements.
Time to read:
Reading time is another factor. Reading efficiency, or how fast we learn, is based on reading time. When we compare reading times across devices, print has a slight advantage, but device reading is just as efficient, especially when considering personal preferences.
If compelled to adopt a method we don’t like, reading time may increase, and efficiency may decrease.
Another significant factor is how well we measure content mastery. Sometimes we overestimate our expertise, which leads to less rereading and less learning. Because we worry about not “getting it,” we may squander time rereading or switching focus when we underestimate our proficiency.
Thus, it helps to determine if our reading impressions match reality. The print has a modest advantage on this critical variable due to the assumption that digital reading causes more outstanding “mind wandering” (Clinton, 2019).
Other reading traits differ.
Finally, other reading traits differ. The reader’s age, interest, genre, purpose (job, school, or pleasure), and reading mastery should be considered. We can generally conclude that how we read is less relevant when there is a high level of interest and topic knowledge and when we read for pleasure./_l_w4hmhuma.
Print vs. digital reading meta-analysis (Delgado et al., 2018): This meta-analysis examined if the reading medium (print or digital) influences reading comprehension.
The researchers examined fifty–four studies with over 170,000 individuals from 2000 to 2017. Screen reading regularly decreased reading comprehension.
The reading impact size of digital screens was -0.21. In reading comprehension, this is significant. According to Delgado et al., primary school children improve by 0.32 annually. Therefore, a -0.21 influence is considerable.
According to the researchers, “the clear conclusion is that providing students with printed materials despite the appeal of electronic learning environments./_l_w4hmhuma.
Meta-analyses with such a consistent pattern are rare. They found similar results to other meta-analyses. When the time was restricted and the topic was non-fiction, the print was consistently better for reading comprehension.
They also observed that print’s advantages increased from 2000 to 2017 and that gadgets requiring scrolling are poorer than those without.
“Given the unavoidable inclusion of digital devices in our contemporary educational systems, more work must be done to train pupils on dealing with performing reading tasks in digital media, as well as to understand how to develop effective digital learning environments” (Delgado et al., 2018).
In other words, schools will keep assigning online reading, so you must learn how to handle it.
Teaching annotation abilities:
Teaching annotation abilities like highlighting and commenting could promote active reading methods with digital literature. Engaging in the topic you’re learning makes it easier to recall. /_l_w4hmhuma.
Reading comprehension improves with operational reading tactics, including highlighting, annotating, and asking questions. Print books are preferable for studying because they’re easier to do than digital readers.
Reading comprehension and text annotation tools:
Reading comprehension and text annotation tools (Ben-Yehuda &Eshet-Alkalai, 2014): Annotation strategies were tested to evaluate how they affected reading comprehension in print and digital formats.
The participants were 93 Israeli Open University students. They randomly read an 850-word fossil informational document in PDF or paper. They were further split by asking half of each condition to annotate (highlight and comment) while reading or merely reading. /_l_w4hmhuma.
Digital readers used Adobe tools, while print readers used highlighters and pens. They were then tested on their text comprehension with factual and inferential questions. Reading comprehension assessments were better for paper readers than for digital readers.
As expected, the print with annotations group scored higher. This difference was only significant for inferential questions; annotations did not affect factual recollection. Digital annotations did not boost reading comprehension.
Print reading improves comprehension:
Print reading improves comprehension. Why is print better than digital if annotations don’t work? The cognitive burden is one reason paper reading is better than digital. Cognitive load is the mental energy required to complete an activity.
Imagine you can only store five things in your working memory at once. Remembering five things is a high cognitive load while remembering one thing is low.
Reading on your phone decreases your working memory, which is terrible. Extraneous and intrinsic cognitive stress induces this. Extraneous cognitive load—information unrelated to the learning task—comes from your phone. It hinders learning. /_l_w4hmhuma.
You’re thinking about the phone, which takes up the mental space you need for revising, unlike intrinsic cognitive load, which is the learning task’s cognitive demands.
Extraneous cognitive load:
Extraneous cognitive load is the stress on your working memory from irrelevant information. Reducing excessive load helps you learn, according to cognitive load theory.
Just holding your phone adds cognitive stress, lowering your working memory for reading. Unlike a website, browser, phone, or other digital devices, a book only contains information./_l_w4hmhuma.
Note: “Online learning involves activities such as accessing course websites, navigating multiple-linked materials, determining the relevance among hyperlinks, getting lost in cyberspace, and solving technical and Internet connection problems, all of which split the learner’s attention and increase extraneous cognitive load” (Chang & Ley, 2006).
Dedicated reading devices:
What about dedicated reading devices? Notifications and apps are absent. “…annotation did not influence comprehension in the digital condition could be explained, at least partially, by the high cognitive load that results from the structure of a digital text,” according to the previous study.
When a screen reader can’t see what came before and after the text you’re reading, the e-reader’s structure makes it harder to put it in perspective. A tangible book’s ease of context is unquestionable. We learn by forming connections so that text placement can aid comprehension./_l_w4hmhuma.
We can see headlines, graphics, and what came before and after the content we’re reading. This book’s chapters show how smartphone distractions diminish working memory and how this lesson suggests another smartphone use. Because text disappears from digital readers, it’s tougher to contextualize it.